Additional Emergency Links
- American Red Cross
- Poison Control Center
- Pesticide Exposure Reporting
- Clandestine Drug Labs
- CA Department of Public Health
- CalEPA Emergency Response
REPORT CHEMICAL SPILLS: (800) 852-7550
OEHHA Emergency Response
Environmental Outcomes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Photo credit: US Army
Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2005. The storm brought heavy winds and rain and damaged several levees protecting New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain. Up to 80% of the city was flooded, with water as deep as 25 feet in some areas.
Hurricane Rita made landfall on the coast between Louisiana and Texas on September 24, 2005. Many areas were hit with high winds and flooding, and several oil refineries were heavily damaged.
Environmental Contamination (as of 10/10/05):
Water Quality – Recently, water was tested at dozens of locations in and around Lake Pontchartrain. Each sample was tested for bacteria, metals, and organic chemicals.
- Increased bacteria from septic system and agriculture field runoff
- Some metals and petroleum products present in water
- Many of the suspected chemicals were not detected in any of the water samples.
- Of 4012 drinking water facilities in the affected areas (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana), 78% are currently operating. Many residents are still advised to boil water until damaged facilities can be repaired or rebuilt.
Other Environmental Issues –
EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality continue to find abandoned chemical containers and household hazardous wastes, such as cleaning solvents, batteries, and pesticides. EPA has so far collected over 112,000 containers for identification and disposal.
Flooding in California:
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) provides dam safety and flood control services in California. For flooding status and important information about flood prevention, response, and recovery, visit DWR’s Flood Emergency Information website.